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Community & Business

30 December, 2021

New solar farm proposal

A development application for a new five megawatt (MW) solar farm has recently been submitted to Gilgandra Shire Council.

By Emily Middleton

The full plans for the solar farm can currently be viewed at Gilgandra Shire Council.

If approved, the ITP Development’s solar farm will be situated in a paddock on the corner of Aralee and Warren Roads.

The farm will produce enough electricity to cover 49.2 per cent of Gilgandra’s consumption, according to an ITP Development spokesperson.

“If approved we will be looking to further engage with the local community so they can purchase electricity directly with the solar farm.”

Local contractors and machinery will be used during the project’s development.

“We prefer to work with local contractors as much as possible,” said a spokesperson.

Apart from hiring machinery locally, we will also be engaging local consultants for the establishment of the project, as well as the ongoing maintenance of the site throughout its life of at least 35 years.

“This may include local surveyors, earthmoving contractors, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, fabricators, cleaners, waste contractors, landscapers and other available labour hire.”

ITP Development gave the example of another solar farm being developed in Orange, explaining that the project was being crowd-funded.

“In pursuit of our local ideals, another solar farm we are developing in Orange is even being crowd-funded by the local community alongside institutional investors. The idea is producing a great deal of interest and enthusiasm and we hope to reproduce it in future regional projects.”

The proposed development comprises a five MW solar farm on 11 hectares, with the capacity to supply 12,900MWh of electricity per year into the local network, which is enough to power approximately 2150 homes.

“The electricity generated will reduce greenhouse emissions from mains grid electricity by around 5000 tonnes of CO2 per year,” said a spokesperson.

“We note that solar farms are the most direct way to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, and besides producing renewable energy, solar farms feed surplus power to the mains grid thereby distributing clean energy.

“The land used for solar farms also provides a better habitat for wildlife and plants, and the site will continue to be used for animal grazing during its operation.”

If the development application is approved by council, construction is set to begin in late 2022, and expected to take four months, followed by three weeks of commissioning.

Residents adjacent to the development have reportedly been notified by mail. However, some stakeholders in the area have already voiced their concerns and objections with council, regarding issues such as increased traffic on Aralee Road, and dust during construction.

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